I was talking other day to a physician who’s been in practice for 30 years. He’s in internal medicine, and so he “routinely” tells people they’re going to die, or that their condition is chronic and can only be managed; that they’ll have to live with pain, dysfunction, or limitations for rest of their life. Over 40 years, consider number of patients he’s had to tell this to. Something new, shocking and traumatic to patient … something he’s said hundreds of times.
The conversation came up because he was asking me how I could work on telephone, as coaches usually do. He said, “I need to have them in front of me, to see they eyes, to see how they’re responding.” His ability to empathize and also stay focused is what makes him excellent and caring physician he is. (Coaches learn to do this via telephone through experience.)
However, not all communicators master this ability. Communication takes discipline. It takes empathy, so you can understand position other person is in. It takes self-discipline, because you have to attend to a lot of things that are going on. THE INTERVIEW
How does this apply to your interview for a job? You need to understand position interview is in. You need to focus on them, not you.
The person has likely been doing job for some time. It’s repetitious. Yes, people are different (as in case of physician), but same questions, same answers, same mindset, same emotions. The interviewer is just as much in his own world as you are in yours. His job may have become routine. He may even be approaching burn out.
KEEP HIS ATTENTION
Psychology tells us we tune out what’s familiar. We quit paying attention to it. For instance, people who live near elevated train tracks in Chicago suburbs no longer hear trains coming every hour. No matter how professional person is, tune-out can still happen. Not all people have level of self-discipline as physician we talked about.
The interviewer may or may not be able to achieve an active listening state. You need to take responsibility for making this happen.
TO GET ATTENTION, GIVE IT
Every interview starts out with intensity. Everyone’s paying attention, psyched up, ready to go. Then what happens as you start to answer first question? Intensity can’t be maintained; it’s physics. In as short as 10 seconds, there’s a change, like letting air out of bag. After 60 seconds, we lose focus, and attention may go down as much as 50%. The interviewer’s mind will start to wander … unless you do something about it.
How do you know you’ve lost interviewer? Nonverbal cues: eyes glaze over, drumming with a pencil on table, looking around room, failing to even produce obligatory “uh huhs” and “I sees”. How do you get interview back? You have to do a dance. You have to interject something they aren’t expecting, something new that will recapture their attention. One way to do this is to ask questions. For instance:
·Was this what you were after? ·Can you hear me? That Xerox is kind of distracting. ·Could you repeat that last point? ·Is this what you had in mind? ·Would you rather hear about XXX, or YYY?